Some Restaurants May Be Adding a ‘COVID Surcharge’ To Their Bills to Help Cover Rising Costs

This is the first time any of us have lived through a pandemic, and circumstances are definitely not normal. Many businesses have been closed for weeks, and some of them are closed for good.

While many people struggle to make ends meet right now, businesses are also struggling to stay afloat. Among those businesses that are struggling – restaurants.

At first, you might think that restaurants haven’t been hit all that hard by COVID-19. After all, many of them have stayed open throughout the pandemic for carry out and drive through customers.

Restaurants have definitely been hit hard. Not only did they lose dine-in customers, they have also had to face rising food costs due to COVID-19. As some cities and counties relax their restrictions on restaurants and let them reopen their doors to dine-in customers, some restaurants are adding a new fee.

Have you seen a COVID-19 surcharge on your restaurant receipt yet? This line item is meant to help restaurants compensate for the (hopefully temporary) rising cost of food. 

You might wonder why restaurants don’t just change the prices on their menus. Many restaurants consider this fee temporary, and one day it will drop off receipts. Then, your total bill can go back to normal instead of being permanently higher.

Just how much are restaurants charging? One customer shared that she paid 9% for a COVID-19 fee, and she doesn’t plan on visiting that restaurant again.

Watch the video below to learn more about this new COVID-19 fee.

It’s helpful if restaurants let customers know if they are going to add a new COVID-19 fee to the bill before customers decide to order their food. Some restaurants are doing this through signs on the doors and social media posts. For example, Kiko Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge in Missouri is urging customers to pay attention to the signs on their doors before placing an order.


Loyal customers seem to find notices like the ones above helpful. For example, one customer commented, “You guys need to do what is best for you!! Y’all are amazing and have amazing food and people working for you!!” Another restaurant owner added the following comment, “As a restaurant owner I applaud you as I understand exactly what you are going through.”

Do you think restaurants are out of line if they decide to charge a COVID-19 fee? Have you seen this line item on your bill yet?